Infection of the middle ear is one of the most common preventable causes of deafness.
Children are particularly prone to middle-ear infection because their eustachian tubes, which ventilate the middle ear and drain off fluids that build up in the middle ear during fl u or colds, are narrow and can become blocked easily.
Bacteria and viruses move effortlessly from the nose and throat to the middle ear. Fluids that accumulate in the middle ear are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Earache occurs as a result of the infection and severe pressure on the eardrum.
Prevent infection of the middle ear by not putting your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle. Milk that runs into the ear may cause infection.
Also do not allow children who have grommets to swim or bath without wearing good plastic or silicone earplugs. If water that contains bacteria gets into their inner ear they could end up with an ear infection and possibly deafness.
(This is an extract of an article that originally appeared in the YOU Pulse / Huisgenoot-POLS magazine, Spring 2007. Buy the latest copy, on newsstand now, for more fascinating stories in the world of health and wellness.)